From Nweke Nweke, Onitsha
While Christians all over the world mourns the certification of Jesus Christ last Friday (Good Friday) it was a tragedy not only for the people of Okija in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra state, computers making use of Onitsha-Owerri federal highway but for the Federal Government that funded the construction of Okija bridge by a snail-paced Arabic construction company known CCC.
The bridge which turned a tourism center for the people living within the state and its environs as well as users of the Onitsha –Owerii federal highway is at its final collapse even as the military men suspected to have visited the venue from Onitsha Military Cantonment were thrown into shock on the ugly development.
It would be recalled that Okija the already razed down bridge was recently constructed under snail-paced byCCC. A visit to the plant office of CCC at the popular Oba junction, Idemili South Council Area to ascertain the cost of the bridge and how long it would take them to reconstruct it should government make funds available hit at the rock as they were said to have gone on Easter break.
The people met at the scene were discovered to have been thrown into confusion over what might have caused the fire outbreak on the day Christians were mourning the death of Jesus Christ. It was gathered that the fire outbreak started at about 17.30 hours on Good Friday and lasted to Saturday but with the quick intervention of the policemen attached with Okija Police Division, fire fighting men from Okopko and Onitsha Main Market in Ogbaru and Onitsha North council areas respectively fought like a wounded lion to quench the fire even when the Owerri road end of the bridge was raised to dust
In 247ureports.com hot chase over what might be responsible for the ugly development, a bus driver who spoke on the matter under the condition of anonymous alleged that it was the men of Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA that set the waste gathered under the bridge for ages by an insane man ablaze, stating that the FERMA men did it in good faith, but later turned into tragedy.
“When I was passing here at about 4.30pm today, I saw the SURE-P men pouring about 120 liters of fuel under the bridge probably to burn the grasses that have over grown there. They cannot deny it because I saw them and other people saw them too. There is also some waste bin dumped under the bridge by a sane man who turned under the bridge as his heaven on earth, therefore having constituted nuisance under the bridge” that driver revealed.
Another opinion from the members of the public had it that it was the insane man that set his loads he packed under the bridge for donkey years ablaze, the claim that never went down well with the Ihiala Unit Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Mr. Nnamdi Dan Asanya who described the incident as a sabotage from those who never wished Nigerians well.
247ureports’ visit to the scene of the incident at about 23.30 hours on Good Friday night learnt that the FRSC Unit Commander, Mr. Asanya was among top government personnel that saw the bridge on flame as he was going from his office at Ihiala to Onitsha between 5.30-6pm the same day but could not stop out of the fear that it could be a long vehicle that fell into the bridge, the revelation that was confirmed by the Road Marshal while exchanging views with this reporter at the scene of the incident.
Reliable sources within Okija Community said that when the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Okija Police Division, Mr. Danjuma Ragga got wind of the fire outbreak, he contacted the Nnewi office of Fire Service but instead of the Fire Service men to respond to the call from the senior policeman, they were of the fear that it could be bomb that exploded on the bridge. This, according to our source has made the people paid to fight fire incident absconded from their legitimate duty.
“If Nnewi Fire Service men had responded as at the time the DPO called them, the bridge could have been saved. All of them at Nnewi Fire Service ought to be sacked for failing to justify their pay. They were afraid to come and save the nation from undue expenses and at the end of the month, you see them smiling into their respective banks for salary” Another source lamented.
Confirming the incident, the DPO, Mr. Danjuma Ragga said when he got wind of the fire outbreak, he mobilized his men to protect the computers from been attacked by the hoodlums. He however said that no arrest have been made at the time of filling this report even as he declined comment over what he suspected might have caused the fire outbreak.
As the public kept panicking over the inability of Ihiala Unit Command of Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC to control the vehicular movement from Onitsha end of the bridge, this reporter made calls across to the Commander, Mr. Nnamdi Dan Asanya who said his men had a bad trye on their way to the bridge but they later arrived at about 8am to control the traffic in the said bridge.
Efforts made to reach Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA to ascertain why they allegedly razed the bridge constructed with the tax-payers’ money failed as it was a public holidays period.